apps

Windows Phone AppHub now allowing 7.0 apps to be updated by developers

If you recall, once a developer had submitted a "Mango" 7.1 app to the Marketplace, it essentially cut them off from access to the non-Mango 7.0 version. That meant that the pre-Mango version was frozen, basically forever, with no chance for bug fixes. And although the goal is to get Mango on 100% of the devices and basically all the updates are rolling out now, developers were still a little unhappy about that limitation.

Microsoft of course listened and figured out a way to let devs have access to both 7.0 and 7.1 versions of their apps. They announced this awhile ago but it has just officially been instantiated in the developer AppHub, meaning devs can update their old pre-Mango apps just like before.

As you can see from the image above, thanks to our developer Jay Bennett, devs will have the option via a drop down menu to choose which app to modify. Seems like a good solution to us and hopefully devs will take advantage of it.


Major Halo Waypoint revamp and new ATLAS feature coming this fall

The Halo Waypoint app is a useful way for gamers to check on their accomplishments in the Halo Xbox 360 games while on the go. But the mobile version of Waypoint lacks a few of the Xbox 360 version’s features, such as viewing campaign progress. That will change this fall, when 343 Studios overhauls all three versions of the Waypoint (Xbox 360, WP7, and PC) to more closely match each other in looks and features. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg…

Halo Waypoint will soon gain the ability to create custom challenges in Halo Reach. The game already features daily and weekly challenges, but now players will be able to make their own (such as scoring a certain number of head shots or grenade kills in specific maps) and share them with friends. Sure, that feature could have just been patched directly into Reach, but including it in Waypoint will encourage more players to check out the Halo-themed portal.

Head past the jump to learn about the Halo ATLAS app and Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary Edition.


The Guardian iPad app looks awesome like Metro

It seems that The Guardian has taken design elements from Metro UI after releasing their Windows Phone app and have applied them to their just-released iPad newspaper. Don't mistake this for a mere copy as the app looks superb on the big screen and does Metro proud.

I see this as well as future implementations with other apps on Apple's platform as a positive sign for Windows Phone.When Windows 8 comes along with the upcoming Xbox Dashboard refresh, we should expect to see more adopters for Microsoft's mobile platform with Metro making its way into competitor eco-systems.


Windows Phone CV apps?

In the world of job hunting, producing an effective curriculum vitae (CV) aka resume for you yanks, is your best chance to differentiate yourself from other applicants. Uploading the finished document to job sites, attaching it to cover letters and more are just a number of ways to branch out and increase reach for yourself. We've now come across a different approach to publishing your CV to the mass. MonWindowsPhone has found a French CV for Thibaut Legendre in the Marketplace, which is reportedly the second app of its kind internationally.

While it may be different, original, available to thousands as a download and stand out, is the Marketplace really the place for CVs to be published? I'm not sure, probably not. It's the same principle as spam and useless apps. Even though this kind of app is genuine, there's little to no functionality and purpose for the average user. Should a trend kick off where we end up with thousands of CVs on the Marketplace, would we all be smiling?

I pass the question onto you, would you like to see a number of CV apps on the Marketplace? I'm thinking of charging £1.99 to download mine, should I develop one.

Source: MonWindowsPhone


ShopGlider gets big, Mango-ized update

For those unfamiliar with ShopGlider, it is a site where you can keep track of your various shopping lists and recipes, as well as share them with friends and devices.  Now, the folks over at ShopGlider have updated their Windows Phone app to 3.7, which adds some great new functionality.

With the new version, you can now email store trip lists directly from the phone and perform batch operations in the Shop List section.  And the addition of Mango support now allows for fast switching.  3.7 also brings with it landscape mode, usability improvements, fast-app switching and perform enhancement, including faster syncing with ShopGlider's parent website.

ShopGlider could be the most comprehensive shopping list apps out there.  You will need to sign up for a free account to get the full benefits, which you can also do right right from the app itself. Head over to the ShopGlider website for more information and setting up a free account.

You can get ShopGlider 3.7 for free here. See the video demo after the break...


Microsoft reduces daily app submission limit to 10

Remember the apps above? They were in the spotlight when the Marketplace came under attack from a number of clone/spam apps that either had limited functionality or were mere copies that could all be combined. Microsoft published some new guidelines and changed a few things here and there to combat the spam, but we later questioned more apps making their way into the platform catalogue.

Fast forward a few months to this exact date in time and we have a new article published by Todd Brix on the Windows Phone Developer blog. The post outlines that the team plan to introduce a lower cap on the number of apps that can be submitted in 24 hours, from 20 to 10 - effective tomorrow (Friday, 30th). Mr Brix also took a minute to remind developers:

  • Unique apps can only be published in a single category. Any duplicate apps showing up in other categories may be unpublished, per the Windows Phone Marketplace FAQ’s
  • When applying similar templates to multiple types of apps, we recommend differentiating apps through unique iconography, titles and other metadata to help potential customers make informed decisions about downloading apps.
  • As mentioned in application certification requirement 2.10, apps must have distinct, substantial and legitimate content and purpose. Differentiation between your apps can help meet this requirement.
  • There are several ways for your apps to be featured in Marketplace on the phone and now on the Web. Apps are featured by category based primarily on their number of downloads and customer reviews. The same is true for the cumulative top and free sections. The New panorama that makes up the background is algorithmic based on timing.

At least Microsoft is continuing to look at ways to limit the number of spam on the Marketplace, but is lowering the limit all that's needed to fight back? Should it be lower than the proposed 10? Sound off your views in the comments. On a closing note, should Microsoft be making $444 million from patent licensing on Android, could Google not indirectly fund a new Windows Phone review team to be on the hunt for the crap in the above image?

Source: Windows Phone Developer blog, thanks WeeBearUK for the heads up!


Android vs Windows Phone free apps - A case study: Part II

A few weeks ago, we covered a single case study of one developer who released the same app on Android and Windows Phone: 'Mortal Kombat Tactics' by Neuralnet found here in the Marketplace.

The conclusion at the time was that Windows Phone was a better platform for developers to make money on (via ads) due to the fact that visibility is much higher than the Android Market. As a result, the developer brought in just $1.27 form Android in five days versus the $14.77 for the same time--that's a huge difference obviously.

But, would that advantage last? Luckily, Alex updated his post to show what thirty days in August would look like instead of just five:

  • Android revenue is $3.44 with an eCPM of $0.30 and a total of 11,606 Impressions
  • Windows Phone 7 revenue is $108.55 with an eCPM of $0.94 and a total of 114,920 Impressions.

We don't really need to point out how $3 is slightly less than $108 for Windows Phone, do we? Alex summarizes:

"The 30,000+ apps in the Windows Phone 7 Marketplace and 300,000+ apps in the Android Market are good numbers, but discovery is everything. Which gives a clear advantage to Windows Phone 7.

Once your app is on the "New" or "Just in" category is the best chance that your application can be seen by a lot of people, on Windows Phone 7 your app can be under the "New" category for a full day or two, three if you are lucky, but on Android is another subject all together because you can have 40 plus apps published at the same time yours is and that's your big chance to be seen by a lot of people."

Certainly food for thought for developers looking to pick a platform to work on. Like all things though, as Windows Phone's Marketplace grows, this advantage may dwindle, but as of right now it's looking pretty good.

Source: WP7DesignCorner


Torchbear, a social networking game, needs your help

Torchbear is a unique application for your Windows Phone that has hit the beta stages of development. Torchbear is described as a mobile geolocation based social network game.

It appears to be part social networking app and part chain letter app (and that's not necessarily a bad thing). Torchbear is a way to share your thoughts, ideas or images with others around the world.  Each torch has a mission and accomplishing that mission is likely the gaming aspect of this new app.

Based on the promo video, Torchbear looks interesting but the developer needs your help. Entering the beta stages, the Torchbear developers are looking for beta testers. If your interested in helping knock the bugs out of this Windows Phone app, shoot an email over to contact@torchbear.com with your Windows Live ID.  Use "Torchbear Beta Tester Request" as the subject line.  The developers will then get back in touch with you with the Marketplace beta link.

The concept definitely looks interesting and we'll be curious to see how the developers transfer that into a Windows Phone app.


Kik gets SSL encryption, bug fixes

Kik Messenger for WP7 has received its first update, bringing it to version 1.1.  While the patch does not bring any major new user-facing features to the table, it does resolve a couple of significant bugs that were present in the initial release.  The most noteworthy addition to v1.1 is SSL encryption.  If you'll recall, IT specialist, Mike Cardwell, reported that though passwords were encrypted within Kik, messages themselves were sent in plain text.  The developers later added SSL encryption in Android, Blackberry and iOS, but upon launching Kik for WP7, SSL remained absent.

The other fix worth mentioning is a resolution to the ".co.uk bug."  Users trying to register on Kik for WP7 using an email address ending with ".co.uk" were unable to do so.  A workaround was quickly found, but it's nice to know that it is no longer needed.

Kik is a great messaging app that's gotten that much better, so check it out here.

Source: Kik


Xbox Live Indie Games in the works for Windows Phone 7

Following in the steps of our announcement yesterday from Gamehouse about five new games coming to Xbox Live on WP7, we've found some more gaming news from the world of XLIG (Xbox Live Indie Gaming). After being nominated for awards at Indie Games Uprising, three great Indie game development teams; EversoreITA (Doom & Destiny), iO (KamiCats) and Phoenix Game Studios (T.E.C. 3001); were all interviewed by WP7Connect to get the inside scoop on what might be in the pipe for Windows Phone 7 users, and we aren't disappointed by what we've learned.

Over the next several months, not only will these games be continuing their success as Xbox Live Indie Games, but they'll be bringing that success and fun to WP7 devices as well. Whether you're into racing around the world as a quick-paced robot in T.E.C. 3001, jumping from platform to platform as a catwarrior in KamiCats, or going oldschool with a Zelda-esque game as four young heroes in Doom & Destiny; these three titles are sure to give many of you that special gaming fix that only Indie Games have a way of satisfying.

While there haven't been any specific dates set for when we'll start seeing these titles, all three companies have made statements that they'll be coming to your phones over the next several months. Check out some gameplay videos (from the Xbox360 versions of the games) after the break and keep checking back here for more info on when these games are released. We'll be sure to get you more info and reviews first here as soon as they can be gotten.

Thanks, Carl P. and Matthew M., for the tip! Videos after the break!


Windows Phone "Tango" dances its way onto the scene?

We're still a little ways away from Mango's official release, and already it's successor, Tango, may be skulking around in the shadows. Using an app called Dude, Where's My Update?, which tracks what versions of WP7 people are running on what devices, Japanese site Nanapho, spotted a previously unknown version 7.10.8200. As it turns out, this might be Tango, the expected interim release between "Mango" and "Apollo" aka Windows Phone 8.

Though Tango has not been formally detailed by Microsoft, Nanapho says that it will include better Bing, improved Bluetooth, Internet Explorer 10 and Skype integration. Most interestingly, there also seems to be some Nokia-specific programming. We know that the next major version of Windows Phone will be called "Apollo," and that news about Tango came from Compal, an ODM who will be manufacturing handsets for Nokia.

Source: Nanapho


TodayXLive gives Windows Mobile a WP7 makeover

Still holding out on making the jump from WinMo 6.X, but want the look of WP7?  If so, TodayXLive is the app for you.  TodayXLive is a plugin for your Today screen that gives you a tile-based start page, complete with live updating.  The plugin works for Windows Mobile Pocket PC 5 and 6 and requires .NET Compact Framework 3.5.

Loffactory, the developer of TodayXLive, recommends disabling all Today items that you are not using, so you can save some battery life.  If you want to give it a go, you can download it here. (Anyone tempted to fire up their old WinMo device, for old times sake?)

Source: FreewarePocketPC


Groupon v1.3 adds live tile

Groupon has released version 1.3 of their popular WP7 app.  This latest iteration sports a live tile, so you can pounce on that 15% off Yankee Candle deal before it flickers out.  In addition to the already great features, like locating, buying, and redeeming deals right from your WP7 phone, you can now share them with friends in v1.3.  Early reviews of the update report that it is faster and smoother as well.

Get it here (Zune link).

Source: Groupon; Via: @deeper2k (Thanks for the tip!)


Windows Phone Marketplace gets updated categories

Here's a cool little update: Microsoft has pushed out, seemingly in addition to the AppHub features, changes in categories to the Marketplace for Windows Phone.

Simply launch your Marketplace and head to Apps. You'll see a few changes including replacing "and" with "+" signs, making things surprisingly easier to read. In addition, we now have a dedicated "Books" and "Business" category (we're not too sure if the latter is new).

We bet this has something to do with the AppHub's "private beta market" launching tonight as well as MS just wanting to further divvy up their 26K apps they have available. Let us know if you find any other little changes that we missed in comments!

Edit: Games too, have new, more detailed categoreis as well, including things like "shooter" "classics", "strategy + simulation", etc. Very nice.

(Thanks, Tahiti Bob, for the heads up!)


GroupMe now available for WP7

GroupMe, the popular group-texting service, has hit the Marketplace.  The WP7 version, which was the second-most requested platform by users, was actually spear-headed by an intern HackNY's Summer Fellows Program.

Using a data connection and/or texting, GroupMe allows users to create different user groups.  Any time a member of the group sends a message, the other members will be notified.  In addition, GroupMe assigns each group a common phone number, so any single member can start conference calls on the fly.  And while you can use this snazzy app to communicate with your friends through GroupMe, it is not necessary.  Any phone that can text can create groups and get started.  Best of all, the service, just like the app, is free.

The current iteration only supports the group messaging, chat and conference calling, but more features, such as location tracking and photo sharing are expected to follow in the near future.  The startup has gained a fast following, and has even gotten the attention of celebs, like Paris Hilton, who recently tapped them as her go-to forum for viewers of her upcoming show on cable network Oxygen.

Get GroupMe here.

Source: GroupMe


Weight Watchers app redesigned and "must-have"

Maintaining one's diet, er...lifestyle change, can be pretty tricky when you're on the go.  However, the newly-designed Weight Watchers official app, PointsPlus Calculator, makes it easier.  Whether you're out to dinner or picking up groceries for the week, all you need to do is enter the nutritional information into the calculator to find out how many points-per-serving an item will be.  The app will also let you log activity to see how many points you have burned by exercising.  The interface is simple and sleek.  PointsPlus is free to download, but is only available for Weight Watchers Online and eTools subscribers.  Due to the nature of the subscriptions, users are required to log into the app on a monthly basis.

Weight Watchers is just one of a plethora of companies to release "official" apps for for WP7 in recent weeks.  Microsoft likes this one so much that they listed it as one of their "must-have" apps in their Best of Marketplace.  Click on the Via link below to see the others that made the list.

Download the PointsPlus Calculator here (opens Zune).

Source: Weight Watchers; Via: Microsoft


WP7 PlentyOfFish app released

What's that? Yet another official app? Of course it is, this is international official app release week for Windows Phone 7 remember? It seems even the WP7 users who are seeking love will be able to use their handsets to find romance with the official PlentyOfFish app entering the Marketplace.

While no information is detailed in the description as to what features are presently available in the app (apart from search and profiles), we'd assume messaging and more is included. You can download the app (Zune link) from the Marketplace for free (as well as register and use the service) but be aware that a payment is required to use advanced features.


Pokédex Mobile - Review

The stereotype of Xbox 360 gamers is that they’re only interested in first-person shooters and games with lots of violence. People like that wouldn’t give Nintendo’s Pokémon series a second thought. Stereotypes are often wrong though, as plenty of 360 gamers like me enjoy all kinds of games. Besides, while it’s very common for Windows Phone gamers to also own Xbox 360 consoles, that doesn’t mean they don’t also have a DSi or 3DS. What I’m trying to say is that while the crossover between Windows Phone owners and Pokémon fans may not be tremendous, such people do exist. Pokédex Mobile from indie developer Imaginary Pocket aims to be a useful tool for active Pokémon players.

The Pokémon series of games revolves around collecting a large variety of Pokémon (Pocket Monsters), training them to learn new abilities, and commanding them in battle against rival Pokémon teams. While the original GameBoy Pokémons contained 151 different monsters to catch, each generation of sequels adds to the pot. The current DS offerings have pushed the total number of monsters up to a whopping 649. That’s a lot of Pokémon to keep track of! When you consider that even the same monster may appear in different places and have different abilities in each sequel, the need for an all-encompassing resource becomes readily apparent.

Journey past the break for our full review.


Smartphone OS shapes

This is an extremely interesting observation. Many would ignore shapes used on smartphone handsets, simply because those shapes would be tied to app launchers or tiles which all contain either images or information. As one can see in the image above, Clayton Miller, a graphic and interaction designer (creater of 10/GUI), has aligned the different shapes adopted by the smartphone market.

From one perspective, you could assume that the shapes shown above is an illustration of the transformation from a square to a circle. Microsoft use the simple four-sided approach with the Metro UI, Apple keep things aesthetically pleasing with a roundrect, Nokia use a squircle and HP have a full circle to play with. Clayton states that Android doesn't have a unified shape, a possible symptom of fragmentation?

It's worth noting that smaller competitors use same shapes as the big players, Bada from Samsung makes use of squares but can't come close to Microsoft's tile implementation and RIM use roundrects throughout but are no match for Apple's iconic design.

Source: Clayton Miller


"Orange Selects" kicks off with free apps

Orange is kicking off the launch of their new Orange Selects Marketplace feature by giving away apps for free throughout July.  Selects is a list of the carrier's "top apps" and appears as a folder in the Marketplace on their customers' phones.  Orange announced the offer to customers today via text messages:

"Celebrate the launch of Orange Selects and get a free app every day throughout July from the Windows Marketplace - exclusively for Orange customers. That's 31 apps for free. Check out today's free app by choosing Orange Selects from the Marketplace hub on your phone.  3G connection required. Data charges may apply."

Unfortunately, the month-long offer is only for Orange customers and not O2 or Vodaphone.  Today's free app is Krashlander, with more to follow, for a total value of about £70. The launch of Orange Select comes right on the heels of the quickly-growing Marketplace hitting 25,000 apps.

Source: Orange; Via: Paul Boocock (Thanks for the tip!), Pocket-Lint


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